Peak(s):  Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
Date Posted:  09/11/2006
Date Climbed:   09/09/2006
Author:  trishapajean

 Mt Yale  

After trying to get my mom, my dad (cftbq), my niece and nephew and myself together for our "annual family 14er"; due to work schedules, weather, and illness; we decided to take two trips. My mom, my dad, my nephew and I climbed Pikes Peak on 09/02/06 which left my niece to climb at least one 14er for the year. She couldn't go because she had to work but she had off 09/08 and 09/09. She had attempted Mt Princeton in 2003, but due to weather was turned around. She was determined to complete her unfinished business this year. I had already climbed Princeton in 2003 and do not want to re-summit any 14ers until I finish them. We decided that I would climb Mt Yale with my nephew Ted and my dad, ctfbq, would climb Mt Princeton with my niece Amber (see his trip report for their adventure). Friday night we stayed with my friend Miranda in Buena Vista. It had rained most of the night in and was still socked in when we started the short drive to the Mt Princeton trailhead. Once we got to Chafee County 322 the sky was crystal clear. We dropped Amber and ctfbq off at the radio tower around 6:45am. Ted and I drove back to Buena Vista and decided to get gas, just to be on the safe side. We started from the Denny Creek TH at 8:30am, a little later than we had anticipated but we still wanted to attempt the mountain even with the weather forecast of 50% chance of snow. It was 43 degrees and sunny at the TH. Following Bill's great route description, and well worn trail, we had no problem getting to the shoulder of Mt Yale. About 12,500' snow was on the ground and we ran into a couple that advised us to turn around "as snow is more deadly than lightening on 14ers". We did not heed their advice and continued on even though it was snowing lightly. We continued on to about 12,800' and a couple guys passed us on their way down. They did not summit either but stated their group was still up there. We decided to push on. A few minutes later around 13,000' the weather really deteriorated and the snow became very heavy and the wind picked up, pelting snow at us. We decided at that point to turn around, even if it meant having unfinished business (one thing I hate). We made it back down to approximately 12,500', and the clouds parts and the wind died down. We deliberated and decided to make another attempt at the summit. Getting back up to 13,000' we encountered another person with his dog on their way down. He did not summit either because his dog's paws were cold but there were still a few people up there. We took a short break and started up the steep section of trail to the saddle, it was snowing lightly again. It took most of an hour to do this section and everyone else that was up on the mountain passed us on their way down. The trail was covered in snow but we followed the other climber's footprints. We reached the saddle at 1:00pm and knew from the others we had encountered we would still have at least half an hour to the summit in very windy conditions. We headed up the snow and ice covered summit block proceeding very cautiously. We arrived at approximately 1:30pm, signed the register, snapped a few shots when there was a 10 minute break in the clouds, and made a cell phone call to Amber and cftbq (yep, I used a cell phone on the summit). They had already summited and were on their way down. Ted and I started the very slow and careful descent in whirling snow. It was a little, okay a lot, slick on the steep section. Once we hit the 12,500' mark again the sun came out and no snow was on the ground so we took a short lunch break took off a couple layers of clothing and hurried down the mountain, even jogging in a couple of the flat sections of trail, as we still had to drive over and pick up cftbq and Amber on Mt Princeton. Right after we crossed Denny Creek, the rains came, so we had to put more clothing back on. We arrived back to the TH at 4:30pm and took the "shortcut" Chafee County 321 to Chafee County 322 to the Princeton TH. Cftbq and Amber had made it quite a ways down the road when we met up with them. We headed down, stopped at Gunsmoke for some Chili Cheese Dogs, picked up my old dogs (almost 10 and almost 15 years old) from Miranda and made it back to the Springs feeling very triumphant over the weather. Happy I have another 14er to cross off my list.

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